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The following sentence is taken from a school textbook. I don't understand the use of'that is' in this sentence. Does it need a comma after 'that is'?

This means that as human beings, we wish to be better,that is we wish to get more, earn more, rise higher in rank, and so on.

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    Your sentence needs to be either separated with a semi-colon after better or split into two sentences. That is is short for That is to say (that) we wish......etc Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 15:39
  • Yes, although the entire sentence is a mess. Somewhat "better" (sic) might be, "We all have ambition; that is, we wish to get more, earn more, rise higher in rank, and so on." Only human beings can read, so who is this author's audience? Also, many human beings strive to be of service instead of seeking wealth and rank. But yes, Ronald is correct. It should read, "This means that as human beings, we wish to be better; that is, we wish to get more, earn more, rise higher in rank, and so on." Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 15:53
  • One interpretation: This means that, as human beings, we wish to be better; that is, we wish to get more, earn more, rise higher in rank, and so on. But that's both subjective and an example of proofreading. Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 16:46
  • (I also doubt that this can be copied verbatim from a textbook. For one, no textbook would use better,that, omitting a space after the comma. And, given one transcription error, there could be others. If it's a grammar textbook specifically, it's not a good example of a reasonably punctuated sentence, which raises doubt about the usefulness of the textbook in general.) Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 16:53

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The original sentence is grammatically incorrect.

A correction is shown below:

As human beings, we wish to be better. That is, we wish to get more, earn more, rise higher in rank, and so on.

It is equivilant in meaning to the following:

We are human beings. Human beings wish to be better. Human beings wish to get more. Human beings wish to earn more. Human beings wish to rise higher in rank. Also, there are other things which Human beings wish for.

The phrase "that is" could be replaced with:

  • "equivilantly"
  • "i.e."
  • "id est"
  • "in other words"
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  • The original sentence contains two punctuation errors. The grammar is fine. Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 12:59

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